We are delighted to announce that Dr Mandy Sadan, Associate Professor in GSD, has recently been awarded a highly prestigious Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust for her project ‘Flavour in the Making of Modern Britain’. The project will begin in September 2022 and will run for three years.
Every year, the Leverhulme Trust awards around 30 Major Research Fellowships, which are intended for “well-established, distinguished researchers in the humanities and social sciences to complete a piece of original research”. A full list of award holders can be found here.
Mandy said of the award, “I am delighted to be given this opportunity by the Leverhulme Trust. When I joined Warwick in August 2020, I hoped that it would open new directions for my teaching and my research. This project is a testament to the richness of the interdisciplinary GSD environment and how it has allowed me to grow intellectually.
"The idea for this project originated in conversations with students when I was teaching GSD’s undergraduate module on Security, Sovereignty, and Sustainability in the Global Food System. We discussed many issues relating to culture, psychology, physiology, and history, as we tried to understand how food systems are or can be sustainable.
"We often talk about research-led teaching, but we don't talk enough about the importance of teaching-led research. Interesting courses enable you, as a teacher or educator, to think in new ways, just as you hope your students will, too. Teaching can lead to the development of innovative research projects, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that important link between teaching and research, which is sometimes missed!”
Mandy will write more fully about her project in the Leverhulme Trust Newsletter in early 2021 but she said, “I have worked for many years on issues of ethnic conflict in Myanmar, and on histories of ethnicity and nationalism in Southeast Asia more broadly, including looking at the impact of the global spice trade on regional and global histories. My interests have always been focused upon trying to understand the deeper cultural, psychological, emotional and affective, components of ‘encounters’, of boundary making and boundary-crossing, and what all these things mean in the development of multi- and trans-cultures.
"At first sight, this project looks very different from what I have been doing for many years, but there are lots of connections so I will be able to bring all that experience in research and teaching on issues of nationalism, conflict, and Areas as objects of study into this project.
"There is a much bigger story waiting to be told about population-level changes in flavour preference that I want to explore. The emergence of the new flavour and ingredients houses, technological developments, and understanding the chemistry of flavour are all important factors. Flavour preference is a very complex issue involving neuroscience and nurture, as well as a host of wider environmental factors.
"I hope that at the end of the project, the research will contribute to new ways of thinking about the global shaping and creation of Britain as a corrective to simplistic dialogues about ‘multiculturalism’ and the economic and cultural ‘contribution’ of different communities. Flavour is a really important part of national, regional, and local food systems, but it is under-researched and poorly understood. As recent research has suggested, however, the search for flavoursome food has probably been one of the most important drivers of human social and cultural development!”
Associate Professor in GSD
Email: Mandy dot Sadan at warwick dot ac dot uk